Officials with Springfield-Branson National Airport are reporting 2017 was the busiest year in the history of the facility, with a record 993,129 total passengers. That’s up 4.2 percent from last year and 35.7 percent since 2011.
“Without our customers, and their decision to fly from Springfield, none of this would be possible,” said Ed Brady, chairman of the airport board of directors. “I want to thank everyone for supporting our local airport.”
Brian Weiler, SGF’s director of aviation, said several records were broken in 2017. “And 2018 might be the year we break the 1 million passenger benchmark,” he said. “This summer Allegiant adds four to five more flights a week from Springfield. That alone will add at least 6,000 passengers, bringing us that much closer to 1 million passengers in a single year. The airlines are bullish on Springfield.”
The 4.2% growth last year was propelled by several factors, including a strong economy in Southwest Missouri, which prompted more people to fly, which in turn prompted the airlines to add non-stop destinations from Springfield.
Last year Allegiant added service to Fort Walton Beach and United added service to Houston. American Airlines added Charlotte service in late 2015.
Destinations aren’t the only way to measure growth.
“Last year, the airlines increased the number of plane seats for sale in this market by more than 31,000 and that trend continues in the new year,” said Kent Boyd, SGF marketing director. “They’re doing it by adding destinations, and by using larger airplanes. United, for example, has 48 percent more seats for sale in the first quarter of this year than last. The bottom line is that airlines wouldn’t be this generous unless they considered this a robust market.”
Four airlines serve Springfield: Allegiant, American, Delta, and United. They provide non-stop flights to 13 destinations: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Tampa/Saint Petersburg, Orlando, and Punta Gorda/Fort Myers.